Real Madrid: 3 predictions for Matchday 16 at Elche

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard of Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Eden Hazard will make a difference off the bench

Eden Hazard was available for Real Madrid this past Wednesday against Granada, but manager Zinedine Zidane wisely decided to play things safe with his superstar. Granada are a tough opponent and were stingy defensively, so playing Hazard in that match would have been a risk. Asensio was looking great on the left-hand side anyway, and it was good for the Andalusian forward to get those minutes.

However, Hazard needs to get on the pitch and regain confidence after yet another injury, so a bench appearance at Elche is in order. Hazard has made an impact off the bench before this season, as his inclusion in the fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Borussia-Park helped change the game. Real were down 2-0 before Hazard entered the pitch, and he and Luka Modric helped the team fight back to recover a point.

Elche are 16th in the league, and while they have the best defense of the bottom eight teams in La Liga, Hazard should have no trouble looking good against them at the end of the match. The Elche fixture is an opportunity for Hazard to pick things up before the following weekend fixture against Europa League candidates Celta Vigo.

I could see Hazard dribbling his way through crowds and creating some great chances for his teammates if given 30 minutes at the end of the match at Elche.